January 10, 2023

How to Design the Perfect Booth for Your Restaurant

Offer­ing guests a sense of com­fort and pri­va­cy — as well as con­tribut­ing to the over­all aes­thet­ic of a space — booth seat­ing is an essen­tial com­po­nent of a restaurant’s inte­ri­or. 

Whether you’re design­ing a quick-ser­vice restau­rant or an upscale, fine din­ing estab­lish­ment, restau­rant booths can be an ide­al option for many rea­sons. In addi­tion to being an effi­cient use of space, per­haps the biggest advan­tage of booths is that they can be com­plete­ly cus­tomized to suit your space.

Restau­rant booth options encom­pass every­thing from a booth’s basic dimen­sions to its base, uphol­stery, and more. And with a clear under­stand­ing of how to design restau­rant booths that exude both form and func­tion, you can max­i­mize the aes­thet­ic and prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits of this inte­ri­or sta­ple.

The Anatomy of a Restaurant Booth

Before you can begin the process of design­ing cus­tom restau­rant booths, it is imper­a­tive to be famil­iar with the basic ele­ments that com­prise the struc­ture of a well-made booth.  

Once you know your way around a restau­rant booth, you’ll nev­er look at this seat­ing style the same again — and you’ll see exact­ly why it is cru­cial that you part­ner with a skilled man­u­fac­tur­er. On the sur­face, a booth appears to be a fair­ly sim­ple piece of restau­rant fur­ni­ture, made up of a hand­ful of core com­po­nents. But actu­al­ly, there are near­ly a dozen ele­ments that make up the anato­my of a restau­rant booth. 

And ulti­mate­ly, the integri­ty of each of these ele­ments is key to the qual­i­ty, com­fort, and long-term dura­bil­i­ty of a booth.

A) Top Cap: The strip, or cap, placed on the very top of the booth
B) End Cap: The out­er­most por­tion on the side of the booth
C) Sup­port Ribs: An inte­ri­or ele­ment that pro­vides cru­cial sup­port for the over­all booth struc­ture
D) Back Sup­port Pan­el: An inte­ri­or sup­port pan­el run­ning along the back of the booth
E) Back Foam & Bat­ting: The soft cush­ion­ing used to pro­vide com­fort and back sup­port for guests
F) Back Uphol­stery: The mate­r­i­al used to cover/contain the back foam and bat­ting
G) Seat Uphol­stery: The mate­r­i­al used to cover/contain the seat bat­ting
H) Seat Bat­ting: The first lay­er of cush­ion­ing used on the seat por­tion of the booth
I) Seat Frame with Foam Over­lay: The core cush­ion­ing lay­er and struc­tur­al frame of the booth’s seat
J) Seat Base: The base of the seat por­tion of the booth
K) Recessed Base: The “foun­da­tion” of the booth, on which the entire struc­ture rests

These are the basic com­po­nents of a restau­rant booth, though there are a num­ber of addi­tion­al ele­ments you can add as you cus­tomize your design.

For exam­ple, many restau­rant booths incor­po­rate touch­es such as a toe kick (to pro­tect the bot­tom area of the booth from exces­sive wear), or crum­brails, to “catch” food debris for eas­i­er clean­ing. Also, cer­tain booth designs will elim­i­nate ele­ments such as uphol­stery, whether for aes­thet­ic or prac­ti­cal rea­sons. 

When you have part­nered with a cus­tom restau­rant fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­er, you can expect to have the flex­i­bil­i­ty to cus­tomize vir­tu­al­ly every one of these com­po­nents of basic booth anato­my. This means that, when it comes to craft­ing a booth that brings your design vision to life, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are unlim­it­ed. 

Design the Perfect Restaurant Booth in 5 Steps

The basic pur­pose of a restau­rant booth is to pro­vide com­fort­able seat­ing for guests — but thought­ful­ly cus­tomized booths can do so much more than that. 

An expert­ly designed restau­rant booth can be a style state­ment, a sta­ple piece that anchors your inte­ri­or and cre­ates a visu­al con­nec­tion between var­i­ous aspects of the room. In terms of func­tion­al­i­ty, cus­tom-designed booths can be used to max­i­mize space in a lim­it­ed or unusu­al floor plan, as well as sup­port the effi­cien­cy of restau­rant staff. And above all, the per­fect restau­rant booth will con­tribute to an excep­tion­al din­ing expe­ri­ence, one that com­ple­ments the brand and per­son­al­i­ty of the spe­cif­ic venue.

We’ve cre­at­ed a roadmap that walks you through the essen­tial steps of design­ing a cus­tom restau­rant booth, cov­er­ing every­thing from basic booth con­fig­u­ra­tion to cre­ative touch­es that can set your booths apart.

Step 1: Select a Frame

First, you’ll want to begin by choos­ing a booth frame. Depend­ing on your man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner, you should have a series of frame styles to con­sid­er. For exam­ple, Old Domin­ion Fur­ni­ture Co. offers 10 design­er-inspired frames, in addi­tion to our cus­tom booth option. 

The frame plays a cen­tral role in shap­ing the over­all look of your restau­rant booth. Essen­tial­ly, it sets up the basic “for­mu­la” that you will use to design and build your booth: the gen­er­al archi­tec­ture of the struc­ture itself, the posi­tion­ing and shape of back/seat cush­ions, the place­ment of spe­cif­ic ele­ments, and so on. Beyond that, the frame of a restau­rant booth sets the stage for how it will fit into the inte­ri­or aes­thet­ic and how it will func­tion.

Let’s take a clos­er look at some restau­rant booth frames to see this con­cept in action. For exam­ple, our Park Booth embod­ies a clas­sic, clean style that is rem­i­nis­cent of a tra­di­tion­al park bench. Rather than incor­po­rat­ing uphol­stery, the Park Booth has a slat­ted-style back and seat.

  • This spe­cif­ic frame design can lend itself well to restau­rants that pri­or­i­tize dura­bil­i­ty above all, as it elim­i­nates the need to clean and main­tain uphol­stery.
  • Addi­tion­al­ly, this type of frame may be well-suit­ed for quick-ser­vice restau­rants where guests are not expect­ed to stay for extend­ed peri­ods of time.
  • Styl­is­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, the frame design has a lev­el of attrac­tive sim­plic­i­ty that can fit into a vari­ety of inte­ri­ors.

You can see how, with details such as the ones above, you would be well-equipped to make a deci­sion about the best booth frame style for your space.

Step 2: Define the Height and Length

Once you select a booth frame, the next step is to estab­lish the exact dimen­sions, which includes the:

  • Booth seat height: The height of the seat, such as din­ing, counter, or bar height
  • Booth back height: The over­all height of the back por­tion of the booth, with com­mon booth back heights includ­ing 36, 42, and 48 inch­es (though this mea­sure­ment can be cus­tomized)
  • Booth length: The length of the booth in its entire­ty, with com­mon booth lengths includ­ing 30, 48, and 72 inch­es

Obvi­ous­ly, the avail­able space will large­ly dic­tate the dimen­sions of your booth. How­ev­er, aes­thet­ics and guest expe­ri­ence should also be con­sid­ered. For exam­ple, an extra-tall booth back can cre­ate an ele­vat­ed sense of inti­ma­cy, which is often ide­al in upscale restau­rants.

There are also many dif­fer­ent restau­rant booth con­fig­u­ra­tions to choose from, which only increas­es the ver­sa­til­i­ty of this seat­ing:

  • A sin­gle booth most com­mon­ly seats two guests side by side, and may be paired with two chairs or anoth­er booth oppo­site to cre­ate a four-top seat­ing set-up.
  • A dou­ble booth is made up of two, back-to-back seat­ing areas, each one usu­al­ly accom­mo­dat­ing two guests (though extend­ed booths can fit more guests if desired). Dou­ble booths are help­ful for mak­ing effi­cient use of space and max­i­miz­ing avail­able seat­ing.
  • A ban­quette runs along the length of a wall, and is usu­al­ly used with restau­rant tables and chairs placed at even inter­vals.
  • A U‑booth (stan­dard or mitered) is a U‑shaped booth that fits a table at its cen­ter.
  • Half-cir­cle booths are usu­al­ly made to seat between four and six guests, leav­ing the oth­er “half” of the booth open for easy staff access.
  • A ¾ cir­cle or cor­ner booth fea­tures seat­ing sit­u­at­ed around three-quar­ters of the booth’s square, leav­ing the final quar­ter open for staff access and seat­ing 6 or more guests, depend­ing on over­all size.

In many restau­rants, you will see a mix of booth con­fig­u­ra­tions. Dou­ble booths may be the pri­ma­ry booth con­fig­u­ra­tion, with a few cor­ner booths sit­u­at­ed in the cor­ners of the restaurant’s inte­ri­or. Incor­po­rat­ing mul­ti­ple con­fig­u­ra­tions allows for the best-pos­si­ble use of space, as well as accom­mo­da­tions for vary­ing guest par­ty sizes and occa­sions (such as a large group for a busi­ness meet­ing or birth­day cel­e­bra­tion).

Step 3: Choose a Base

Next, you will select a restau­rant booth base:

  • A closed/box base has a seat base that is com­plete­ly closed-off
  • An open base with legs leaves the area under the booth open and acces­si­ble

This is a deci­sion that requires con­sid­er­a­tion of both the design style of your inte­ri­or and the func­tion of each. For exam­ple, would it be bet­ter to close off the base and min­i­mize the need to clean under­neath the booth? Or, does the aes­thet­ic impact of an open base make the extra clean­ing task well worth it? The “best” choice will vary from restau­rant to restau­rant.

Step 4: Select an Upholstery Style

From here, your design deci­sions will large­ly hone in on the visu­al aspects of your booth design. If you have cho­sen a booth frame that includes an uphol­stered seat and/or back, you will have the free­dom to choose an uphol­stery mate­r­i­al that aligns with your inte­ri­or aes­thet­ic.

Here are some com­mon booth uphol­stery styles to think about:

  • A smooth back is usu­al­ly con­sid­ered the stan­dard option, and has a clas­sic look that eas­i­ly blends into a restaurant’s decor. Free from any embell­ish­ments, the smooth uphol­stery style is time­less and easy to clean.
  • A ver­ti­cal chan­nel style has a divid­ed chan­nel back, with ver­ti­cal sec­tions for a con­tem­po­rary but  unfussy look.
  • A hor­i­zon­tal chan­nel style also has a divid­ed chan­nel back, but the sec­tions run hor­i­zon­tal­ly. 
  • A head­roll is an added cush­ioned por­tion near the top of the booth back, intend­ed to enhance guest com­fort.
  • A float­ing but­tons design incor­po­rates but­tons in a struc­tured pat­tern (with the but­tons often match­ing the uphol­stery itself).
  • A dia­mond-tuft­ed design is a pop­u­lar uphol­stery style in upscale restau­rants, using but­tons in a dia­mond-style pat­tern for an impres­sive visu­al impact.
  • A bis­cuit-tuft­ed design uses but­tons in a grid-like pat­tern, putting a mod­ern spin on the tra­di­tion­al tuft­ed look.
  • A hang­ing back pad uses a nar­row padded sec­tion that is “sus­pend­ed” in the mid­dle of the booth back, pro­vid­ing com­fort and sup­port for guests.

Step 5: Choose Your Upholstery and Finishes

Once you ven­ture into booth uphol­stery and fin­ish options, there are next to no lim­i­ta­tions — pro­vid­ed you are work­ing with a man­u­fac­tur­er that allows ample flex­i­bil­i­ty. 

Gen­er­al­ly, booth uphol­stery options fall into one of three cat­e­gories: fab­ric, vinyl, or leather. Col­ors and tex­tures are infi­nite, so you can cus­tomize the look to flaw­less­ly fit into your over­all design. Restau­rant booth uphol­stery can be an under­stat­ed, seam­less com­po­nent of the inte­ri­or or an eye-catch­ing ele­ment that adds seri­ous visu­al inter­est. You might opt for time­less neu­trals or vibrant hues, or even a mix of shades.

You’ll also select a wood fin­ish or col­or for the por­tion of your booth that is not uphol­stered, such as the top and end cap, seat base, and recessed booth base. Booth fin­ish­es can range from white­wash to espres­so, and all the shades in between, as well as cus­tom stains or col­ors.

Optional: Choose your Add-Ons

Before your booth is com­plete, you can decide whether or not you want to add any spe­cial final touch­es. These small design details can add up to cre­ate a big impact on the form and func­tion of the booth.

For exam­ple, we offer booth add-on fea­tures that fall into two main cat­e­gories: style and func­tion. Our style add-ons include nail­heads, dec­o­ra­tive legs, and dec­o­ra­tive welt cords, all of which can be used to tai­lor the look of a booth design. Our func­tion­al add-ons include crum­brails (a high­ly pop­u­lar, prac­ti­cal option), data ports (for easy plug-in access), and fin­ished out­side backs. 

Create Custom Restaurant Booths with Old Dominion Furniture Co.

Now, you’re ready to dive head­first into the restau­rant booth design process — and we’re here to help. With count­less ways to cus­tomize your booth, Old Domin­ion Fur­ni­ture Co. makes it sim­ple to make your design ideas a fab­u­lous­ly-built real­i­ty. And because our team sup­ports our clients every step of the way, you can be con­fi­dent that your project will be a suc­cess.

Get start­ed on your cus­tom restau­rant booths by con­tact­ing us today.